Casino Operator Spends $1 million-plus In Ky. Gov. Race

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A casino operator spent more than $1 million last year to help elect Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat who is pushing to legalize gambling in Kentucky.

The largest contribution by William Yung went to a Kentucky political group that ran television ads blasting Beshear's opponent in the race.

Yung contributed a third of the $3 million the Bluegrass Freedom Fund spent during the governor's race, according to a financial report filed with the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday. Yung heads Columbia Sussex, which operates casinos and hotels across the country.

Casino opponents in Kentucky reacted angrily on Friday.

"There is the very real possibility that this governor has been bought and paid for," said Kent Ostrander, head of the Kentucky Family Foundation, a Christian group that opposes casinos. "Our concern is that the governor might be listening only to the gambling industry and those who have contributed to his campaign."

Jim Cauley, Beshear's chief of staff who served as his campaign manager, said the anti-casino group was overreacting.

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